Third baseman David Freese needs to be moved up in the Pirate batting order
Prior to the start of the 2017 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates planned to have Jung Ho Kang has the team’s everyday third baseman. However, due to legal troubles in his native South Korea, he has missed the entire season. This has led to an expanded role for David Freese.
David Freese has been forced into an everyday role in 2017 for the Pittsburgh Pirates. This comes despite Clint Hurdle and the Pirates previously planning for Freese to start a maximum of 3 or 4 days a week prior to the start of the season.
This season, David Freese has bat either fourth or fifth for the Pirates. This is a foolish thing for Pirate manager Clint Hurdle to do. Moving forward, Freese should no longer bat in the middle of the Pirate order.
It is due to a lack of power in 2017 that David Freese should no longer bat in the middle of the Pirate lineup. In 262 plate appearances this season Freese owns a .362 slugging percentage and a .117 ISO. Both of these are career-lows for Freese.
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Furthermore, his extra base hit rate is way down. David Freese has recorded just 13 extra base hits (6 home runs, 7 doubles) this season. This is simply not good enough for someone hitting in the middle of a Major League batting order.
There is one area where David Freese has excelled offensively in 2017, though. That area is getting on base. Due to this, he should be batting toward the top of the Pirate lineup.
David Freese owns a team-leading 14.5 percent walk rate this season. This has led to him owning an on-base percentage of .374. His on-base percentage is second on the team behind just Andrew McCutchen.
The ability to get on base that David Freese has had in 2017 makes him a prime candidate to bat higher in the Pirate lineup moving forward. When play resumes after the All-Star Break, David Freese should bat second for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
On top of getting on base, the job of hitters at the top of a batting order is to see as many pitches as possible. In 2017, David Freese has done a great job of this. He is averaging 4.07 pitches per plate appearances in 2017, which checks in at 20th in the National League.
Even though David Freese has hit fourth or fifth all season, this is not where he should currently be in a Major League batting order. Due to his ability to get on base and extend at bats, he should be batting at the top of a lineup. This is why the Pirates need to start batting David Freese second in their lineup.